Long Island-based adult sports company LI-Kick is starting a new kickball league in Greenpoint’s McCarren Park. The league plans on holding games at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. every Thursday night starting on April 15.
The league, which last seven weeks, will be open to all adults.
“The first time I played in Brooklyn was in McCarren Park in a tournament and I spent the whole day there and had a great time,” Hopper explained. “Since then the league that ran that tournament had shut down.”
Even though his old league stopped organizing, Hopper kept in touch with old teammates — including Pedicino — and would regularly meet to play pickup games throughout the borough.
The pair was amazed with the widespread appeal and high number of players their impromptu games generated, and started working to take their passion to the next level.
Hopper reached out to LI-Kick, a Long Island based recreational sports company that organizes kickball, bowling, soccer, and other leagues throughout Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, and Kings counties.
LI-Kick has since come onboard to manage the North Brooklyn kickball league, helping to secure field space in McCarren Park. Meanwhile, Hopper and Pedicino are continuing to recruit new people to join.
“I've always found LI-Kick to be a super friendly, yet still a competitive and fun league whenever we in Brooklyn have gone there for tournaments,” Pedicino said. “I always admired how successfully they were running so many leagues while staying independent and also doing charity tournaments, which makes it all feel so much more worthwhile.”
The pair also believes that the vibrant energy of Greenpoint and the neighboring areas are the perfect match for their newly minted league.
“LI-Kick felt like a natural fit to work with to bring kickball back to Brooklyn,” Pedicino said. “North Brooklyn had been a bustling hub of kickball activity since the early 2000's. It's a great activity where people socialize and make friends without taking themselves too seriously, and have lots of laughs along the way.”
Pedicino and Hopper also hope that the league can provide a much-needed sense of community in the midst of COVID-19.
“When the pandemic first hit, I was playing in three different sports leagues,” Hopper said. “No one knew how long it would last and we were stuck in limbo in our homes. Getting out even for a walk was an escape.”
“What sports in general can provide is that escape from the stress,” added Pedicino.
Going out and kicking a ball, scoring a run or laughing with friends is something we didn't have a year ago. It's a taste of normalcy that we can do safely.”
The Greenpoint kickball community is tightly knit, and members have already planned rooftop parties, picnic days in the park, and award ceremonies. LI-Kick has also secured a partnership with local par Kilo Bravo on North 10the Street between Bedford and Berry avenues, who will sponsor the Greenpoint league and offer some additional pre- and post-game fun.
After much hard work, Pedicino and Hopper are hopeful that the league will succeed.
“I think all people interested in having some fun and just relaxing with a drink afterwards will find themselves interested,” Hopper said. “It's a very social and safe sport, and can be a great way to escape the pressures of daily life.”
Players can register for the LI-Kick Greenpoint league as a free agent, small group or full team (12-16 people). Membership costs $76 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.